Do the Media Ignore Voter Discrimination?
Journal-isms: Mainstream news outlets are underreporting how the issue affects people of color.
in Louisiana. (Getty Images)
"As the nation's first African-American president seeks re-election, new barriers are being proposed or implemented that could disenfranchise voters of color. Are mainstream media doing enough reporting on these efforts and identifying ones designed to reduce the impact on voters of color?" Nadra Kareem Nittle wrote Thursday for the Maynard Institute.
"Specifically, social justice activists say, the media haven't demonstrated how people of color are disproportionately affected by tactics that include voter identification laws, a purge of registered voters in Florida and measures that make it more difficult for community groups to register voters.
"These are reminiscent of historical deterrents such as literacy tests, poll taxes and confusing registration procedures that minorities have encountered while trying to vote."
Khalil Abdullah, New America Media: Haitian-Americans Feel Chill of Florida's Voting Purge
George E. Curry, National Newspaper Publishers Association: Florida Is Again the [Laughingstock] of America
Tony Norman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Attack on voting rights has a deja vu vibe
Marisa Treviño, Latina Lista: New data shows the power of the Latino vote is no bluff
Armando Montaño, a well-loved student journalist who was working this summer as an intern for the Associated Press in Mexico City, was found dead in that city early Saturday, Anita Snow reported for the Associated Press. He was 22.
Tributes were mounting on social media from friends and colleagues who knew Montaño as a Chips Quinn Scholar, as a participant in the New York Times Student Journalism Institute, as a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists or the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association or from other endeavors. He was to be one of the NAHJ students working on the student project at the Unity convention a month from now.
Montaño's body "was found in the elevator shaft of an apartment building near where he was living in the capital's Condesa neighborhood," Snow reported. "The circumstances of his death were being investigated by Mexican authorities.
"The Colorado Springs, Colorado, resident arrived in Mexico City in early June after graduating from Grinnell College with a bachelor's degree in Spanish and a concentration in Latin American studies.
"During his time in the bureau, Montaño covered stories including the saga of nine young elephants from Namibia who wound up on an animal reserve in Mexico's Puebla state, and the shooting of three federal policemen at the Mexico City airport.
"He was not on assignment at the time of his death. The U.S. embassy is monitoring the course of the investigation."
Snow added that Montaño covered the Iowa presidential caucuses as a news intern for the New York Times in December and January, and last year worked for several months as an intern covering policy and finance for the Chronicle of Higher Education in Washington.
Tributes came swiftly.
Richard Berke, an assistant managing editor at the New York Times, said in the story, "Mando was a standout young journalist, with a rare passion and exuberance for life and for people. He accomplished so much and touched so many in a short time, and his potential was truly limitless."
Mekahlo Medina of NAHJ wrote on behalf of the Unity board, " . . . If you knew him for two years or two days or two hours, you knew he was someone special."
David Boardman, executive editor of the Seattle Times, added on Facebook, "Mando was an intern for us at The Seattle Times in the summer of '09. He was bursting with joie de vivre and enthusiasm for his chosen profession."
Monica Rhor, an education writer at the Houston Chronicle, called Montaño "an incredible young man, a talented journalist and incandescent spirit who dreamed big and went after those dreams with gusto." She recommended an essay Montaño wrote for Salon about Mexican food.
Aaron Edwards and Marissa Evans, two contemporaries and also Chips Quinn Scholars, portrayed Montaño in 21st century terms. "I tweet in three languages," Montaño wrote in his Twitter profile, apparently a reference to English, Spanish and Portuguese. Evans said she knew him only through social media.
" . . . He was the person we called, texted and cried to when no one else seemed to care. He would know exactly when to push you to be better -- and he knew exactly when you had dealt with enough," Edwards wrote.
"He was a storyteller at heart and told the world about how his love of nachos and burritos helped him navigate being biracial in America," Edwards wrote of his friend, son of a Mexican father and white American mother. "He was on track to becoming a legendary journalist -- the kind of guy who could one day write about Justin Bieber fans crowding Mexico City and the next day write pages of prose on the Mexican elections, socialist theory or transgendered people's rights in quasi-liberal societies."
Evans wrote, "We had some of the very best conversations imaginable about journalism, Facebook creeping on cute boys we liked, our hopes, our fears and many freak-outs during the internship offer waiting game. We were each other's cheerleaders and in fact, he was one of the first few people I told I had accepted The Washington Post's internship offer for this summer.
"It was such a wonderful day when he told me he was off to Mexico to report for the AP and also put his Spanish to great use. The caps he used to convey his excitement will forever put a smile on my face. . . . Mando and mine's friendship was a 21st century one -- a social media one. Despite this, he is one of the best people I never met."
According to Snow's story, Montaño had planned to attend a master's degree program in journalism at the University of Barcelona in the fall.
The AP internship program resumed last month after the news cooperative put the program on hiatus for a year, to the protests of journalists of color who had benefited from the program. AP cited budgetary reasons.
Lawrence Biemiller, Chronicle of Higher Education: Armando Montaño, Former Chronicle Intern, Dies at 22
Electa Draper, Denver Post: Colorado family seeks answers in death of 22-year-old son in Mexico
Chris Geidner, Metro Times: Armando Montano, 22-year-old out gay journalist, found dead in Mexico City
Sara J. Martinez, New York Times Student Journalism Institute: Arm ando Montaño profile and video (2010)
National Association of Hispanic Journalists: NAHJ Mourns Death of Student Member Armando Montaño
David Plazas, National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association: NLGJA mourns the loss of Armando Montano
Kevin Torres, KUSA-TV, Denver: The Story of Armando 'Mando' Montaño (Video)
"The Chicago Tribune is reviewing an unauthorized paid speaking engagement by its Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Clarence Page at an event supporting an Iranian group designated as a terrorist organization," Robert Channick reported Monday night for the Chicago Tribune.
"Page, a member of the Tribune editorial board, received $20,000 and was given travel expenses for the June 23 event in Paris, which was sponsored by a group called the Organizing Committee for Convention for Democracy in Iran. It turned out to be a large rally in support of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, a controversial organization that has been engaged in a high-profile campaign to be removed from the U.S. government's list of terrorist groups.
"Page, who joined paid speakers such as former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, said he had misgivings soon after arriving at the event, when he realized the scope was more than just a discussion about human rights and fairness toward Iranian exiles, as he previously thought. He went through with his three-minute speech anyway.
" 'I figured it must be a reputable gathering,' Page said. 'It wasn't until I got over there that I began to question whether this was more of a partisan affair than I had thought before.'
"The story was first reported by nonprofit ProPublica on Monday. Page told the reporter he was planning to give the money back because of his misgivings about the nature of the event. The Washington-based Page then called the Tribune's editorial page editor, Bruce Dold, to fill him in.
"Beyond the ramifications of a controversial political association, accepting the engagement was a breach of the Tribune's code of editorial principles. Although some paid speaking engagements are allowed, all editorial employees need approval before accepting them, Dold said. Page said he took the engagement on his own.
" 'It was a violation of policy,' Dold said. 'A speaking fee must be approved in advance by a manager, and he did not seek approval on this, and you can't accept a speaking fee from any organization with a special interest group or a publicity interest. If approval had been sought, it would have been denied.' "
"A declared womanizer who gained female votes for his looks, Enrique Peña Nieto[,] and his current wife, Televisa actress Angélica Rivera 'Gaviota', would become the best looking presidential couple in the history of Mexico. That is the only sure thing of the next presidential term," politic365.com reported on Monday.
"The victory of presidential candidate Peña Nieto has been received with pessimism among public opinion and social media users in the country."
On Pacifica Radio's "Democracy Now!" John Ackerman, editor of the Mexican Law Review and a columnist for Proceso magazine and La Jornada newspaper, added:
"This is particularly important today, because Peña Nieto is the candidate of the corporate media. And as we talked about last week, corporate media in Mexico is over the top. Two companies control over 95 percent of the audience, of the channels -- one company, almost 80 percent, Televisa. And they are the ones who really fabricated Enrique Peña Nieto's image and have -- are the principal group responsible for his victory, if that turns out to be the case.
"And so, Peña Nieto, once he becomes president, if that happens, will most likely want to pay back these television companies by giving them even more power once he arrives. And at that moment, it will be absolutely crucial for these students and for Mexican society, in general, to be very vigilant, very participative, to assure that this does not happen and that in fact we actually go in a more progressive, democratic direction in terms of media, because that's one of the crucial reforms that we need today in Mexico to open up public dialogue and assure more broad-based popular participation in politics."
According to Antonio Jiménez, writing Thursday for Nieman Journalism Lab, " . . . when traditional media is untrusted, it opens up space for new competition -- new outlets, new voices, new approaches. And that's what's happened in Mexico, where a generation of digital-native news organizations has changed how at least some Mexicans have learned about the election.
" 'Digital outlets' main contribution was that they've dared to do a different kind of coverage: more in-depth and investigative reporting, and they are faster and more flexible to update the news,' Gabriela Warkentin, a communications scholar at Universidad Iberoamericana, told me.
"This new digital generation has nowhere near the reach of a network like Televisa, she said. (Less than one-third of Mexico's 111 million people have Internet access.) But their impact comes from doing stories others won't. 'They have provided much more information and analysis [than traditional media] that could help voters on their decision-making process -- and that's not a minor thing,' she said."
Randal C. Archibold, Marc Lacey and Julia Preston, New York Times: TimesCast: PRI Claims Victory in Mexico (Video)
Jason Johnson, politic365.com: 5 Reasons Americans Should Care About the Mexican Elections
Tania Lara, politic365.com: Enrique Peña Nieto and Mexico's Future
Listening Post, Al Jazeera: The Mexican media scandal
Sara Rafsky, Committee to Protect Journalists: Film 'Reportero' features tenacious Mexican magazine
In the mainstream media, this might be considered a cardinal sin: A public relations person is asked to write a story about his organization. The paper runs it as its lead story, and the public relations person is identified as a "special," without mentioning where he works.
It happened in the Washington Afro-American, with a story from Haiti this week by Ron Harris, a veteran journalist who now does public relations for Howard University.
"Howard Medical Students, Faculty Provide Services in Haiti," was the print-edition headline. "Special to the AFRO" ran under Harris' name.
It was one of the first products under the Afro's new editor, Avis Thomas-Lester, who joined the publication after 22 years at the Washington Post, where she took a buyout at the end of May.
Thomas-Lester messaged Sunday that she was too busy and would not be able to discuss the issues of conflict of interest and disclosure until Friday or next Monday, July 9. But Jake Oliver, publisher of the Afro, said Monday of the disclosure issue that the Afro would "make that correction in the future. Good journalism requires that.
"At the Afro, we do have a legacy that we need to uphold that reflects high standards and transparency," Oliver told Journal-isms by telephone. The story should have included a note in italics that Harris, a former interim editor of the Afro, works for Howard, Oliver said.
As a part of the black press, the Afro is not a member of the mainstream media. According to Todd Steven Burroughs, a lecturer in the Department of Communication Studies at Morgan State University, a former reporter at the New Jersey Afro-American and an expert on black-press history, the black press operates under different rules.
"The first thing we have to remember about the black press is that the black press is an advocacy press. As an advocacy press, it's historically chosen when it wants to follow journalistic protocol," Burroughs said by telephone.
"Throughout the history of the black press, particularly as mainstream journalism began to insist on the standard of objectivity, there has always been a very cozy relationship between the black press and established black institutions. These alliances can be seen formally vis-a-vis the many columnists in many black newspapers who are leaders of organizations, but also very informally in that other black leaders and black notables could feed the black press information that they would print verbatim."
Burroughs noted that he once worked for the National Newspaper Publishers Association, an organization of black community newspaper publishers. "One of the things I learned with NNPA is that many of these editors are just looking to fill the newshole," Burroughs said, "so it was always a very common thing to see press releases in black newspapers verbatim if the subject was of concern to black people or black people were involved."
Oliver agreed with Burroughs' observation, but still said that identifying Harris would "complete the picture" for readers. Asked whether Harris' authorship of the story presented a conflict of interest, Oliver said that without Harris, the Afro might not have any story.
Harris is a good journalist, and the story was important, Oliver said. "This does provide an invaluable service," the publisher said of the efforts of the Howard medical students and faculty. "Seeing the work they're doing and showing young black medical students" what their colleagues are doing could be inspirational.
" . . . On the first day of the week-long mission," Harris wrote, the 30 "volunteer medical personnel were met by hundreds of people who had begun to line up hours before the doctors and students were set to arrive . . . Many people had been suffering from their maladies for more than a year."
Ron Harris, Afro-American Newspapers: Long Patient Lines, Long Hours and High Heat Greet Medical Mission: Howard Medical Students in Haiti -- Day 2
Society of Professional Journalists: Code of Ethics
" . . . Though Anderson Cooper's sexuality had been an open secret forever, his emergence from the closet today -- via an email to The Daily Beast's Andrew Sullivan, made public with Cooper's permission -- is still big news," Gail Shister wrote Monday for TVNewser.
Shister said that Cooper's CNN colleague, weekend anchor Don Lemon, "labels today's announcement as 'awesome. I just tweeted him congratulations. We should all be supportive. He's a human being. He wants to be happy and live his life.'
"Lemon came out last year prior to publication of his memoir, 'Transparent.' He and his partner, CNN producer Ben Tinker, have been together five years.
"Cooper's acknowledgment 'says a lot about CNN as a company. Not only are we grounded in the reality of the world, we are also part of the future.'
"Lemon predicts that Cooper will not get any backlash for coming out. 'For someone as accomplished as he is, his actions speak for themselves.' "
Peter Sterne, Columbia Journalism Review: Ander son Cooper (finally) exits the closet [updated]
Andrew Sullivan blog, the Daily Beast: Anderson Cooper: "The Fact Is, I'm Gay."
Michael R. Triplett, National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association: Why Journalists Coming Out (and Being Out) Still Matters
" . . . Years before Google, before tablets, heck, before the Internet was a popular term, and even before the first domain name was offered to the general public, a predominantly African-American team actually once controlled the Internet; or at least your domain access to it," Lauren deLisa Coleman wrote Thursday for theGrio.com.
"Few may know it today, but Al White was a vital part of that team and still thinks longingly about those heady days when sink or swim business decisions were made by the minute and when untold amounts of money were within grasp's reach -- if they just could have held out long enough."
White, Emitt McHenry and other partners started Network Solutions in 1979.
" . . . after 16 years of both good and bad times, they sold it to an outfit called Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) for $4.8 million in 1997.
" . . . SAIC would then turn around and later sell Network Solutions in 2000 to VeriSign for $21 billion dollars and make history in one of the biggest tech deals to be completed in the United States at that time. Network Solutions remains one of the most important companies in the Internet industry.
" . . . '[P]art of the problem,' explains White, 'is that we have very little reference to our history of contributions to building America. We don't know our history, particularly within tech. We don't know that we come from a long line of inventors and entrepreneurs so there is little psychological support for today's black entrepreneur. But we do, we have and we can still create amazing things ... even in this economy!' White cites contributions within Bell Labs, broadband and more where blacks have played a vital yet clandestine role in the rise of technology.
" . . . 'If there is any advice I could give black entrepreneurs today,' explains White, 'it would be that you must stick with what you are doing, if you feel it is right. Don't allow other people to tell you that you don't have anything important like we did. That is really the key. That's why we suffered. Listening to other people ... who didn't know.' "
"Let me get this straight," Jerry Mitchell, investigative reporter at the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Miss., wrote Monday in an open letter to Liane Membis, who last week was fired as a Wall Street Journal intern over fabrications. "A Journal editor gave you an assignment that the least talented of interns should be able to handle -- writing a story about a bridge's reopening -- and you couldn't handle it? . . . If you had actually taken the time to talk to real people in the neighborhood, you would have gotten far better quotes than the ones you decided to concoct."
"Leveraging resources and platforms across NBCUniversal, NBC News has launched an English-language, Hispanic-aimed news and lifestyle website," Mike Reynolds reported Monday for Multichannel News. "NBCLatino.com is presenting English-language news, information and lifestyle content, with Hispanic angles on big general market stories, plus perspectives and opinion pieces. Contributions are coming from across NBC News holdings, including Today, Nightly News[,] MSNBC, msnbc.com, as well as Spanish-language broadcaster Telemundo."
"New York Times Culture Editor Jonathan Landman said he and Executive Editor Jill Abramson accept some of the responsibility for Alessandra Stanley's mistakes in a story last week about Ann Curry's farewell episode of the 'Today' show," Steve Myers reported Monday for the Poynter Institute. "The editors had encouraged Stanley to watch the morning show as well as coverage of the Supreme Court's health care ruling. 'We probably loaded on more than was reasonable,' Landman said."
Charlie Ericksen, 82, publisher and founder of the Hispanic Link News Service, was honored in Washington June 20 with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund's excellence in community service award, Luis Carlos López reported on his site. Photos.
"After nearly 50 years as an international wire service, the Rome-based Inter Press Service (IPS) is branching out into WebTV, keeping pace with the latest advances in digital technology," IPS announced last week. "Leveraging its current resources, the new WebTV will draw on more than 400 journalists in 140 countries, many of them with substantial expertise already in the visual media, according to IPS Director-General Mario Lubetkin."
" . . . A Web site called NewsDiffs automatically 'scrapes' the front page of NYTimes.com and then publishes a log of articles that appeared in multiple versions," public editor Arthur S. Brisbane reported Sunday in the New York Times. "A reader can compare the versions side by side to see changes in text and headline, complete with the markings showing the edits that have been made. . . . Jennifer 8. Lee, a former reporter for The Times and one of the three creators of NewsDiffs, said the project was a 'Scotch tape and fun thing' she did with two programmers, Eric Price, an M.I.T. graduate student in computer science, and Greg Price, who works for the tech start-up Tddium." [Poynter Institute chat]
Wanda Lloyd, executive editor of the Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser and former colleague of retired columnist William Raspberry at the Washington Post, on Sunday recapped the tribute she offered to Raspberry at a June 26 roast in Washington. She told Advertiser readers about serving on the Pulitzer Prize jury that recommended Raspberry for the 1994 prize for commentary.
"Miami Herald Columnist Leonard Pitts, Jr. wrote last month that citizen journalists cannot replace professionals, but a new report issued by Washington State University's Murrow College of Communication suggests doing just that to counter the spread of 'information ghettos,' " Tracie Powell wrote Monday for the Poynter Institute. " . . . The college issued a report last month calling for the creation and training of citizen blogger networks across the state of Washington, allied with daily newspapers and funded by foundations, that can transform areas 'stuck with a lack of news coverage exacerbated by poor Internet access, bad cellular coverage and dwindling local journalism,' writes John Cook for GeekWire."
"Luis Arturo Hernández has been named Executive News Producer at MundoFox," Veronica Villafañe reported Monday for her Media Moves site. "He was most recently a freelance reporter in Phoenix for Estrella TV and Televisa Mexico. He was also the Spanish radio reporter for the Arizona Cardinals and part-time editorial producer for MLB.com. Luis will oversee the editorial content, production and presentation of the newscast and oversee the newscast producers."
"Robin Givhan missed the regular check-ins," Erik Maza reported Monday for Women's Wear Daily. "When she was at The Washington Post, she would often take to her blog to write about events that weren't runway-specific or related to a store visit. 'Things that popped up that needed to be acknowledged,' she said. 'Brief little thought pieces.' Now Givhan, who joined The Daily Beast and Newsweek company nearly two years ago, is going to have that, becoming one of the contributors to a new blog, FashionBeast.' "
"A presenter from the Syrian regime's main television channel has defected to the opposition and revealed he has secretly provided intelligence to rebels for the past seven months," Martin Chulov reported Monday for Britain's Guardian newspaper. "Ghatan Sleiba, a long-time anchor and reporter for the al-Dunya channel, is believed to be the first high-profile defector from Damascus's powerful propaganda arm. 'I am the first and I will probably be the last,' he said in an interview with the Guardian in southern Turkey."
"On the occasion of the 52nd anniversary of the independence of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Reporters Without Borders and its local partner organization, Journalist in Danger, have written to President Joseph Kabila seeking a presidential pardon for the journalist Patrick Palata, who is serving a 20-year prison sentence," Reporters Without Borders said on Monday. "Palata, a journalist with the commercial TV station Canal Congo Télévision which broadcasts from Matadi, capital of Bas-Congo province, has been held in Ndolo military prison in Kinshasa for almost two years."
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Journal-isms is published on the site of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education (www.mije.org). Reprinted on The Root by permission.